We knew this day would come, though we weren’t sure when, and here it is, Monkey has dropped his morning nap and we are down to one a day. New routine time! As with everything in parenting, there are many different opinions about routines for babies. From what makes a good routine to whether to have a routine at all. I found early on that routines make both monkey and I happier. I am a planner and like to know what is in store for me. I like to be able to tell someone I will see them at a specific time and know that 9 times out of ten I will be able to stick to it. (Of course babies are people and have off days so I don’t think any routine can be 100% perfect!) He is always happier when he has eaten well and slept well.
I struggled with a lack of routine in the beginning and had no idea how to get in to a routine at all. This coincided with lots of problems with monkey’s sleeping, mainly during the day with between 3 and 5 naps a day. We ended up for a while where he would only fall asleep if he was sucking on one of our little fingers, and well as you can imagine, we couldn’t maintain that forever! When he was born we were initially 100% against the Dr Ferber progressive wait or “Cry it out” techniques but by about 3 1/2 months (after he had finally outgrown the colic) we had changed our mind and though it was horribly hard, it really worked for all of us in just a few days. It really was this that settled monkey to his routine of morning nap, afternoon nap, and bedtime at around 7.
So we have had a fairly solid routine for a good 6 or 7 months now really. I had the feeling that we were approaching a nap change as he had started waking up a lot earlier in the mornings and his naps were both a lot shorter. I was reading articles and books to see if there was any way I could help or make the change or to find out if it would happen naturally. Then one day last week, boom! No morning nap. This sounds simpler than it was as obviously being so used to the routine I went to put him down for his nap but he was chatting and giggling away, so I thought, ok, maybe you want a slightly later nap today and got him up. Eventually after a couple more tries and when he got a bit unhappier about being put in his cot, I gave up and gave him his normal post-nap feed and that was it, no nap until the afternoon.
Apart from one day where he had a very late morning nap, and then a late afternoon nap where I had to wake him up for fear he wouldn’t sleep at bedtime (mean mummy) he has done pretty well on just one nap a day, though he now naps pretty much straight after lunch and is pretty dozy before lunchtime bless him.
In many ways, no morning nap is a good thing. There are some baby groups I would like to take him to that I haven’t before because they were slap bang in the middle of nap time, which we can of course now go to. His sleep in general has settled down, he’s no longer waking up at 530am every day, and he has a good two hour nap in the afternoon. But man, the long awake time in the morning is exhausting! I definitely need to find some new ways of keeping him entertained and I think the baby groups will help, although of course being easter holidays they aren’t on at the moment!
I also need to find time for housework. I know I now have 2 hours in the afternoon but I really am tired by then so don’t want to be spending the whole two hours cleaning! Whereas up until now I have basically had his awake time as playtime, now he is going to have to help with some chores I think, in the loosest sense of the word of course! So far he has stood and helped pull some wet clothes out of the washing machine. Unfortunately when trying to get him to help put clothes in the machine, he would much rather pull them out, but hey it’s a start! He also enjoys a nice ride in the laundry basket with the wet clothes to get to the airer.
When I get the dustbuster out he does like it, especially if he gets a little hoover kiss on his tummy through his clothes. He likes trying to grab it, but so far hasn’t actually helped in any way! As long as he’s happy when I’m dong chores is the main thing as I am going to have to find time to do them when he is awake from now on! My mother in law said that the boys liked helping her do the dusting so maybe when he’s a bit bigger I’ll give that a try! How do you manage to get chores done with the baby awake?